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Poster: tree-ap Date: Jul 30, 2007 6:23am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: "Steal Your Face" as an album

I picked up Phil's Searching For The Sound last week for $5 @ Barnes & Noble. I'd read this particular sentiment before about how Steal Your Face was a terrible album.

"...since it has been justly reviled as perhaps the worst album we ever made." Phil Lesh

First, I'd like to say that this wasn't necesarily an "album", rather than another document of their live performances. To me, the term "album" implied a studio effort.

Anyway, does anyone else feel like Phil & Bear did about SYF? Phil says that many of the tapes were severly lacking in good sound quality---vocals were missing or very low in the mix, the overall performace quality wasn't very good, etc. Personally, SYF is probably my favorite live "album" after LIVE DEAD. I always thought SYF sounded more like a live performace than even LIVE DEAD did. There was--to me anyway--a sense of "space" to it, almost like actually hearing it at it's original performance & venue. The Movie soundtrack that came out a couple years ago had the same sound to it, and I like it just as much.

One more thing---Phil does say this about '74 and the Wall of Sound..."It's probably no coincidence that the music we created playing through the Wall is reagrded by most Deadheads as the pinnacle of our live performaces; this period (about 40 gigs) remains to this day the most generally satisfying performance experience of my life with the band." I think it's funny he uses the word "most" since there seems to be very few of us here that regard '74 like that...though I do whole-heartedly agree with Phil.

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Poster: johnnyonthespot Date: Jul 30, 2007 9:22am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 'Steal Your Face' as an album

without a doubt their most UNDER rated album.Sound quality aside, the ONLY problem with song selection is the absence of jams and including a couple of numbers like around x 2 as filler. Otherwise I can't understand what's not to like. Consider the following:

Cold Rain and Snow - Ever heard a better one? I haven't.

1/2 Step - Brilliant. One of the best

Stella Blue - ditto

Sugaree - ditto

Promised land - great kick off

US Blues - doesn't HAVE to be there but this is when this song was at it's best.

If they had included Eyes and a jam on top of these tunes, it would be a near perfect album

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Poster: William Tell Date: Jul 30, 2007 9:06am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 'Steal Your Face' as an album

I am one of those that really didn't like it--reasons outlined above: sound quality and song selection. For what it's worth, our 'group' of Heads in the mid 70s, living off Live and Skullfuck, less so Europe 72, were universally disappointed.

Again, just opinion of Bay Area folks at the time. Harsh, but we all referred to it as "Steal your money."

Just one person's view...

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Poster: Earl B. Powell Date: Jul 30, 2007 9:35am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 'Steal Your Face' as an album

The phrase "Steal Your Money" has more to it than just a commentary on the quality of the LP that was issued. Most everybody here is basing their opinions strictly on the work standing by itself, or in conjunction with the movie. Not to mention that the CD release was a huge improvement over the sound quality of the LP.

Between the slight of hand of Lenny Hart and the enormous costs associated with the "Wall of Sound," the band was nearly bankrupted when they went on hiatus and throughout 1975. There was great deal of suspicion ($) when Mickey Hart rejoined the band at the end of the wall of sound sessions and it carried over to the beginning of the 76 spring tour. The LP was released June 26, 1976.

At the time it only made sense that they needed the money, rushed something into and through production and the result was a crappy sounding album. To many, they had sold out to grab a buck. What's most ironic about the whole thing is that the band adopted the logo from this album for the rest of their careers...

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Poster: William Tell Date: Jul 30, 2007 12:51pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 'Steal Your Face' as an album

Right you are Earl.

Damn--nice to exchange over a simple post with all this swirling around us.

I will say that though negotiating it is a bit tedious, it really isn't that bad. Folks are over-reacting to the few over-reactions and then filling the posts with drivel (like I am right now).

Always appreciate your input friend.

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Poster: BryanE Date: Jul 30, 2007 7:03am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 'Steal Your Face' as an album

I like it. Always have, even though it is one of the most roundly maligned pieces of work since Their Satanic Majesties Request. Casey Jones blows the roof off the joint, the Stella Blue coda floats on gossamer wings, and even though it fades at the end, the record introduced me to one of my faves, Black-Throated Wind.

I was surprised to read what Phil said about in his book because I distinctly remember how he defended the album at one point, saying, "I love The Grateful Dead, zits and all. Steal Your Face is The Grateful Dead with zits." Not exactly a glowing review, but still a thumbs-up.

If nothing else, with its title and cover art, they were able to come up with a name for that logo, so it serves a functional purpose. Whatever. Plus, people were also given another chance to go nuts when Jerry sang that line in He's Gone.

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Poster: ghostofpig Date: Jul 30, 2007 7:43am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 'Steal Your Face' as an album

Odd:

I found it to be frustrating in the song selection. First live l.p. without a jam, and the recording was odd. But, I had started to move out of the Dead scene and into jazz at that point. Maybe my expectations were too high after the great Europe '72. I think I'll have to give it another listen.

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Poster: tree-ap Date: Jul 30, 2007 8:28am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 'Steal Your Face' as an album

Part of the reason they released it was "the insatiable appetite of Rakow's record company for product led us to release six albums in '75/'76."

On the previous incarnation of the offical GD site it mentioned in their archives that the shows were "lackluster" in their performance quality. Maybe Bear & Phil felt the same way & didn't want to release any of the jams? I always did wonder why there weren't any further explorations on the album---Stella Blue is the longest song on it @ 8:49 min. They could've substituted the EOTW>China Doll segment from the 19th at least, as it would've fit on the records & tapes of the day.

Now it's time to really bitch about it with a could've/should've. When they redid the movie & released the "soundtrack" to it they should've just went ahead and mastered each show (there are only 5 of them) and released them as stand-alone CD's to purchase, satisfying the complete-ists AND making more $$$ for both the GD & Rhino.

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Poster: jglynn1.2 Date: Jul 30, 2007 6:21pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Rain and Snow

I just got done listening to the Cold Rain and Snow from Steal your Face - crankinig on the car stereo ( the best sound system I can afford to own right now ) and I still love it - really strong piano, the other intruments and vocals come through real powerful too. Don' think you will be disappointed.

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Poster: tree-ap Date: Jul 30, 2007 7:36am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 'Steal Your Face' as an album

Amen on Stella Blue---it's one of my fav performances of the song. Another amen on BTW. This was my into to the song as well & made me seek out more versions. I'll say the same about IMHBTR---to my ears '74 was this songs best year. I'm pretty sure the Casey Jones is also the one on the soundtrack, but the soundtrack version is missing part of Jerry's solo---you can hear the cut.

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Poster: BryanE Date: Jul 30, 2007 8:13am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 'Steal Your Face' as an album

That is the one from the movie, but I didn't know there was a cut on that version. Most importantly, though, they just get completely carried away, totally off the deep end with the chorus refrains, arriving finally at the milk-it-for-all-it's-worth finale. Love it.

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Poster: JamminJerome Date: Jul 30, 2007 1:23pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 'Steal Your Face' as an album

Eh, it's okay, but I rarely play it. No jams? Might as well listen to a good studio album, like Workingman's or American Beauty.

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Poster: prideofcucamonga Date: Jul 30, 2007 8:26am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 'Steal Your Face' as an album

I'm probably going to make a fool of myself here, but I like the sound of SYF and the GD Movie soundtrack. You can hear all the instruments and it doesn't sound muddy. Maybe it does sound like the boys are standing very far apart, but I dig the sound. As for the SYF album, I've never been too taken by it. That's mostly because of song selection. With all the great jams that we get on the GD Movie, you'd think Phil could've given us a little less El Paso and a little more Eyes of the World. But I guess it all worked out in the end.

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Poster: jglynn1.2 Date: Jul 30, 2007 10:08am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 'Steal Your Face' as an album

My first dead album; I still enjoy listening to it. I agree the sound is not wonderful but I do like the songs and versions - nice miss half and stella (my opinion which may be tainted by the fact that I played the sh*t out of this album on my dad's old telefunken as a kid)

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Poster: Earl B. Powell Date: Jul 30, 2007 7:38am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 'Steal Your Face' as an album

....The content of the record (real vinyl) was OK, but the sound quality was awful compared to Europe 72 and Skullfuck. This came after all the Wall of Sound hype, so when it was expected to translate into a superior recorded experience and didn't, it was quite a disappointment.

The best part of the LP was the interior jacket photos.

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Poster: BryanE Date: Jul 30, 2007 8:29am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 'Steal Your Face' as an album

It has gotten a lot of criticism for the sound quality in particular, and I have no problem understanding the reasoning behind the criticism, but that's just one of the quirky elements of it that adds to my enjoyment.

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Poster: skuzzlebutt Date: Jul 30, 2007 10:43am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 'Steal Your Face' as an album

The sound wasn't very good, but I think it was the song selection that really sunk it. Even taking into consideration that this was their fifth live album in six years and they were probably conscious of not repeating themselves, it's pretty hard to get excited about picks like "Big River", "El Paso", “Promised Land” and "Around and Around" when choices like "Scarlet Begonias", "Eyes", "Uncle John's", etc. were readily available. All things being equal I’d rather have it than not, but I bought a CD replacement for my vinyl version at least five years ago and it’s still in the wrapper.